NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — For the second time in recent years, Newtown photographer Darrell Harrington took off from Newtown the morning of June 9 and landed in the photo pit at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show at Quonset State Airport.
The annual event was anticipated to draw more than 80,000 visitors over its two-day run. Anyone looking to view some of the most important fixed wing aircrafts that have served both US military and civilian purposes going back to the World War II era, got an eye- (and ear-) popping experience.
While the air show is free to attendees, the Rhode Island National Guard and the National Guard Association of Rhode Island, along with countless vendors, suppliers, supporters, and volunteers, came together over a 96-hour period and transformed the fully operating civilian/military Quonset State Airport into a safe air show venue — and then returned it to its original format, according to organizers.
This air show yields a huge philanthropic result, and to date, contributions to local charities from proceeds have exceed $2,000,000. The Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence is the largest benefactor and has received more than $1,700,000 since the air show began, primarily thanks to generous support from various sponsors and vendors.
Those vendors and supporting companies have also made significant donations that include sunscreen, water, ear plugs, and various items to the show’s children’s area, all at no charge.
From its annual planning stages through to the completion of the annual event, organizers say they include everyone involved under the collective handle of “Team Rhody.”
This year’s show included appearances by the US Navy Blue Angels, the USAF F-35 Heritage Flight Team, the US Naval Academy Jump Team, aerobatic biplane pilot Sean D. Tucker, Mike Goulian, an aerobatic national champion aviator who races in the Red Bull Air Race World Series, the GEICO Skytypers, the Ace Maker Air Shows T-33, a Mark Murphy P-51D Mustang Demo, a F4U Corsair Demo, TBM Avenger Demo, the Shockwave Jet Truck, and a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.